A creative career requires constant exploration and discovery. For young professionals, the routine of schoolwork, auditions, and meetings can get stale. There are so many wonderful opportunities available to young performers, and I recommend to all of my students to take advantage of them. Whether it’s taking a new class, or a DIY at home, here are 10 ways your child can spice up their professional routine and learn valuable skills along the way.
1. Enroll him in an improv class. Improvisation is a skill that will reap benefits in every area of a person’s life. It improves listening, teaches you to create a common objective with a partner, and allows you to let go. Improv will help your child learn to play with others and say yes to his instincts. It is also a valuable skill for commercials where a director can ask your child to do silly things, like pretend an onion is his best friend.
2. Challenge her to learn a new dialect. Adding skills to your child’s résumé is a key factor to getting her noticed by industry professionals. Learning dialects trains your child’s ears similar to music. An added bonus: It exposes her to new cultures and creates opportunities for learning experiences.
3. Inspire her to memorize a new monologue. It’s always good to have multiple monologues performance-ready, because in this industry, you never know what an audition may require. Working on monologues exercises all of those important acting muscles, and it’s important to keep them strong as your child is growing.
4. Work on a tough audition song. Maybe there’s a song that your child’s always loved but hasn’t had the time to devote to mastering it. Encourage her to spend a few minutes a day listening to the music and practicing it with her voice teacher during lessons. There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a power ballad or new a comedy number.
5. Encourage him to spend quality time with his script. Remind your child that the learning doesn’t end when he leaves his coach’s studio. The desire for improvement has to come from your child. Even if he sets aside 10 minutes a day or an hour a week, the progress he will make by analyzing his script and exploring his character’s objective will transform your child’s acting.
6. Have her keep a journal of her experiences. Your child has a job most people only dream of having! Encourage her to write down the incredible experiences she has. Hard work and rejection are a part of the business. Giving your child a space to flesh out her feelings is one of the greatest gifts you can give her. It reminds her of her worth, and allows her to explore her passion for her craft in a private space.
7. Reflect on auditions in the car ride home. Some auditions go fabulously, others…not so much. That’s part of the job! Always keep an open dialogue with your child and reflect on the positives of the audition. Ask him what he thinks went well and what he can improve on. Celebrate your child’s accomplishments and remind him how proud you are that he pursues his dreams.
8. See live theater! There’s no greater joy in my life than seeing professionals excel in their craft. Theater gives her the opportunity to see her profession from a technical standpoint, but more importantly, it gives your child an opportunity to reaffirm her dreams. For all performers, live theater is a reminder to them of why they do what they do.
9. Encourage him to have fun outside of performing. Performing is your child’s passion, but for young professionals, it is also a job. It is so important for you to encourage your child’s other passions. The friends he’ll make in horseback riding or lacrosse are just as essential to building his character as his relationships are with his co-stars. The skills he’ll develop will help shape him into a thoughtful and talented adult.
10. Play, play, play. Your child is a creative soul. Even when this industry gets tough and auditions don’t seem to pay off, remember to celebrate the fact that your child is working on a dream. There’s bravery in that. Remind your child that her dreams aren’t validated by the number of roles she’s booked, but by the passion she pursued and the skills she’s developed along the way. Always remind your child to never stop playing.